The recent death of a young North Texas woman has shined a light on a rare and sometimes deadly condition: water intoxication. What is water intoxication all about? It’s essentially the overconsumption of water that can quickly dilute the blood sodium levels and cause potentially fatal neurological symptoms. While unintentional water intoxication is rare, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, which include headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lack of coordination, seizures and even coma. Water intoxication is a serious condition that can occur when someone drinks too much water. When the kidneys can’t get rid of the excess water, it dilutes the sodium in the blood, which can cause the cells to swell. This can lead to several problems, including confusion, seizures, and even death.
What is water intoxication?
Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that occurs when the body has too much water. It results from the drinking of too much water too quickly, which can overwhelm the body’s regulatory mechanisms. When this happens, the water dilutes the concentration of sodium (salt) in the blood to a point where it can no longer maintain nerve and muscle function. This may lead to several symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, seizures, and coma. The condition can be fatal if not treated promptly.
What are the symptoms of water intoxication?
When the level of sodium in the blood falls below a certain point, cells can swell and vital organs can become damaged. Some symptoms of water intoxication include confusion, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. In severe cases, seizures and coma can occur.
How can you prevent water intoxication?
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of water intoxication and to take measures to prevent it. Drink fluids in moderation, especially if you are engaging in physical activity, and monitor your hydration levels. If you are feeling especially thirsty, dizzy, or lightheaded, drink some water and wait fifteen minutes before drinking more. Seek medical attention if your symptoms suggest.
What should you do if someone has water intoxication?
If someone has water intoxication, you should:
i) Move the person to a cool, dry place.
ii) Remove any tight or restrictive clothing.
iii) Try to get the person to drink clear fluids such as water, sports drinks, or Pedialyte.
iv). Call 911 or your local emergency services.
How serious is water intoxication?
Water intoxication is a serious problem that can occur when someone drinks too much water. When the kidneys can’t get rid of the extra water, it dilutes the sodium in the blood. This can cause the brain to swell, which can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
What are the long-term effects of water intoxication?
The long-term effects of water intoxication depend on how much water the person drinks and how quickly it is absorbed into the body. In some cases, water intoxication can lead to seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Can water intoxication be fatal?
Yes, water intoxication can be fatal. When the body takes on too much water, the sodium levels in the blood can drop dangerously low. This can lead to hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when there is not enough sodium in the blood. Symptoms of hyponatremia include confusion, headache, vomiting, and seizures. In severe cases, water intoxication can lead to coma and death.
How can you treat water intoxication?
Treatment for water intoxication includes stopping drinking fluids, administering electrolytes, and in some cases, using dialysis.
Stopping drinking fluids is key to preventing water intoxication. If someone is unable to stop drinking fluids on their own, they may need to be hospitalized and monitored until they can stop drinking on their own. Electrolytes may also need to be administered through an IV to replace any lost electrolytes. In some cases, dialysis may be necessary to remove excess water from the body.
As seen above, Water intoxication can occur when someone drinks too much water too quickly. This can happen during sporting events or while working in a hot environment. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of water intoxication and how to treat it. Anyone who plans to participate in strenuous physical activity or work in a hot environment should read this article to learn more about water intoxication.